If the low-fat diet craze made you write off almonds as unhealthy, fatty fare, consider re-adding almonds to your diet. Consuming a diet rich in nuts, including almonds, benefits your cardiovascular health, and can halve your risk of suffering a heart attack, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Almond meal -- made by grinding up whole almonds -- offers all the nutritional value and health benefits of whole almonds, and makes a welcome addition to recipes.
The Basics -- Macronutrients
A quarter-cup of almond meal contains 138 calories, and provides 7 percent of your daily caloric intake in a 2,000-calorie diet. Most of these calories come from almond meal's 12 grams of fat. This unsaturated fat not only provides energy to fuel your cellular metabolism, but also positively affects your cardiovascular health by reducing the level of harmful cholesterol in your bloodstream. A serving of almond meal also provides 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. As a result, almond meal contributes to a high-fiber diet, which also promotes cardiovascular health.
Minerals for your Metabolism
Almond meal supports your cellular metabolism because of its mineral content. It provides significant amounts of copper and magnesium, which are two minerals that activate enzymes your cells can use to produce useable energy. Copper also supports the strength of your connective tissues, while magnesium helps you make the DNA required for cell reproduction. A quarter-cup serving of almond meal contains 64 milligrams of magnesium -- 20 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 15 percent for men -- and 245 micrograms of copper, or 27 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Vitamin E for Skin Health
Almond meal also serves as an excellent source of vitamin E, a nutrient that maintains the health of your skin. It functions as an antioxidant, which means that it offers natural sun protection by neutralizing toxic chemicals that are created when your skin is exposed to the sun. Vitamin E also plays a role in cell communication, and also helps support proper immune-system function. A quarter-cup serving of almond meal provides you with 6.1 milligrams of vitamin E, or 41 percent of your recommended daily intake.
Cooking with Almond Meal
Almond meal provides a gluten-free alternative to flour for gluten-free cooking. Because almonds are also low in carbohydrates compared to wheat, almond meal also works as a low-carbohydrate alternative to wheat flour. Use it in place of flour for breads, muffins and pancakes for a healthful treat. Make chocolate almond no-bake cookies from a mixture of almond meal, cocoa, toasted coconut and dates. Alternatively, use a spoonful of almond meal to add texture to Greek yogurt, or stir it into your morning oatmeal.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Nuts for the Heart
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nuts, Almonds
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- Linus Pauling Institute: Fiber
- Linus Pauling Institute: Copper
- Linus Pauling Institute: Magnesium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E and Skin Health
- Le Cordon Bleu: Five Alternatives to Wheat Flour